Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Thames (Steamboat), burnt, 4 Dec 1838
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On the morning of the 4th. the Patriots, whose number has been variously stated, at from five to nine hundred, crossed the river four miles above Sandwich. This village is directly opposite Detroit, and about twenty miles above Malden. It was four o'clock in the morning. Soon after, they attacked the regulars and militia at Sandwich, and after a spirited action of twenty or thirty minutes, repulsed them. The British loss is reported at thirty to forty killed. The patriots lost killed Capt. Sewr, and two men, and three wounded.
The British armed steamboat, THAMES, was set on fire at Sandwich. This was at six o'clock in the morning, and the burning buildings---the flaming vessel---the red glare upon the waters, and the illuminated spires and edifices of the opposite city, with the noise of conflict, made the scene one of unsurpassed sublimity, which hundreds assembled to witness.
      Daily Mercury, Buffalo
      December 10, 1838

      . . . . .

      Detroit, Dec 4.
      Gent: -- As a matter of news to you in the "Patriot affairs," we have to say that, last evening there was a body of Patriots, estimated variously from 200 to 500 crossed just above this city. The steamboat CHAMPLAIN was used for that purpose. The first alarm that was given from the Canada shore was about 6 o'clock this morning, when one of the guard or watch stationed opposite this city, fired his musket. Immediately after that a few shots were given on each side and as near as I could judge, the royalists fled The barracks of the guard and the adjoining buildings were set on fire. It was still dark, so that men across the river could not be distinguished. At the time the buildings were fired the steamboat THAMES, owned in Canada, was set on fire. From the place where I stood; the scene was one of splendor. In about an hour after the first skirmish, the Patriots had passed down the river, through the village of Windsor, and there met With a detachment of militia regulars, and there was continued firing for some time. Here again the Patriots were the successful party, and drove the royalists. Soon after the invaders returned up the river passing through the village of Windsor, without molestation. The leader of the regulars was killed, and report says from 12 to 25 more killed, and as many wounded. All of the arms in the barracks were taken and some prisoners -- how many is not known. It is evident that the force landed was much larger than that stationed to protect this frontier at this point as they drove them with out any serious difficulty. It is creditable to these deluded men, that they did not destroy private properly or molest it except it was in the use of the British Government.
      Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
      Tuesday, December 11, 1838

      . . . . .
A few days since, one of the Yankee Brigands captured at Windsor, and so humanely set at large by His Excellency Sir George Arthur, with several of his companions in arms, a short time since paid a visit to a gentleman in the neighborhood, and demanded a watch which he said had been taken from him on the field of battle on the morning of the 4th of December,-- He then very coolly walked down to the burnt wreck of the Steamer "THAMES," and having torn off a piece from her almost entirely consumed bulwark, he carried it across to Detroit as an emblem of triumph ! (part)
      Western Herald
      Thursday, June 6, 1839

      THAMES steamer, about 160 tons. built Chatham Ont, 1832. Renamed KENT 1839.
Wrecked by collision with steamer LONDON on Lake Erie, August 1845
      Prelim. List of Canadian Steamships 1809-1930

      . . . . .

NAVIGATON OF 1835. -- THAMES (British) of 160 tons, high pressure, built at Chatham to ply between Amherstburgh and Chippewa, on the Niagara River, two miles above Niagara Falls. She was commanded respectively by Captains H. Van Allen and George R. Williams. During the Canadian rebellion, in the winter of 1838, she was moored a short distance above Windsor, and was there boarded by armed "patriots", so called, and burned. She was never rebuilt, but her machinery was transferred into a new hull named the KENT.
      History of Lake Navigation
      by J. W. Hall
      Marine Record
      June 18, 1885

Item Type
Reason: burnt
Lives: nil
Remarks: Rebuilt as KENT
Date of Original
Local identifier
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.30008 Longitude: -83.01654
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Thames (Steamboat), burnt, 4 Dec 1838